Co-Teaching in Action

Secondary teachers primarily spend their time teaching their class, in their room, in their own personal way. One of our biggest concerns when starting to teach at Hobsonville Point Secondary School was around how the co-teaching (team teaching, whatever you want to call it) was going to operate. The major positive working in our favour was that while holding concerns, we were all keen to try it out.

This mindset held us well over the first year. We tried things out, worked on our teaching relationships, gave feedback and planned for how to improve our co-teaching. Continue reading

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MLP not MLE

This week I have been in Christchurch as part of our efellows programme. Our time was split between working on our research; provocations from Core staff such as Keryn Davis  (on power of play and student questions) and Derek Wenmoth (returning to the why and sharing books that are at the core of his beliefs to get us thinking of our core beliefs); and getting the chance to visit some schools in the area.

The schools that we were privileged to visit were Breens Intermediate and Te Pa o Rakaihautu. There were 2 really key points that I took from these visits: 1) seeing what it looks like when a shared vision is in action and 2) what MLE can look like in traditional classrooms. What they showed together was that modern learning environments is a complete misnomer, it is about modern learning practices. Continue reading

Working in an MLE

This post was originally written for The Network – a newsletter for the New Zealand Board of Geography Teachers:

Modern Learning Environments (MLE) seem to be springing up all over the country and all new builds or developments in schools now are supposed to be under this model. I have been teaching in a brand new MLE this year at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. So what is it actually like to work in an MLE? Continue reading

An Awesome Day of Design Thinking

Tuesday proved to me just how much Design Thinking is the way I approach all aspects of school (and increasingly life) these days. In reflecting on what had happened this week I realised that Tuesday was an entire day of Design Thinking.

I started the day with my Hub completing the redesign of our space. Last week I had realised that things needed to improve with my Hub teaching so we had completed a SWOT analysis of our Hub and everyone had drawn how they would design our space to make it work for us. It was pretty clear from all the pictures that a common theme had emerged. So, away went our old space:

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And in came our new design:

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We have still kept the seating we like for Hub time – mainly ottomans and a few beanbags. But now we have got rid of any other form of seating, created a break out area and swapped the unused table that was a dumping ground for a low table that we can work on from our low seats. Early days but it has definitely created a better feel for us as a group.

After this was finished we Continue reading

How Might We Best Manage the Tension Between Personalisation And Curriculum Coverage?

Day 1 of my Questioning Quest, is a question constantly in my mind this year.

I truly believe the tension between personalisation and curriculum coverage can cause amazing creativity to occur in learning. Our vision of Personalised Learning must also ensure students have the required skills and understandings to succeed as seniors. To do so we are currently developing tools and checks to evaluate student coverage and progress amongst the high level of choice students have in their modules.

Many schools are investigating personalisation as a future focused curriculum or modern learning practice. How do you negotiate this tension?

Educational Exploring and Seizing the Opportunities

We have an awesome opportunity at Hobsonville Point Secondary School to be part of a team looking to redefine secondary schooling. And I really mean awesome – in all senses of reverence, admiration, fear etc.

It is an opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary which sounds great but at times can be scary, uncomfortable and unsettling. Now, for me, I see this more on the excitement level of awesomeness but I’m also someone who is scared of heights but absolutely loved the Sky Dive I did a couple of years ago.

As teachers we expect students to be ok with being uncomfortable, learning new things every week and embracing the opportunities that exist. But, at times, we aren’t ok with being constantly in that situation ourselves. This post is essentially about encouraging teachers to embrace those challenges and be ok with being uncomfortable whilst you do so. Continue reading

HPSS Modules Iteration 2

We are currently completing the second iteration of our module development and selection process. Personally, I believe that our great Term 1 Modules have been given far more relevance and rigour this time round through the introduction of small refinements to our process.

The concept for Term 2 is Place and Space and each Learning Area, when planning over the 2 year framework, had already designated their threshold concepts and skills for this:

Term 2 Threshold Concepts and Core Skills

Term 2 Threshold Concepts and Core Skills

The module design process this time started with student voice. Representatives from each Hub met to say what they had learned previously about Space and Place and to provide ideas of what students would like to learn about. Their ideas poured out and a 4 page document was then shared with staff to provide a 2nd launching pad to the designated concepts and skills.

Each Learning Area then met together to discuss the possibilities this term when focusing on their specific aims and how the student voice ideas matched. This would allow the focus skills and concepts to be presented in a way that was relevant to our students. Continue reading

Monday Module Magnificence

On Mondays I teach in a Big Learning Module called the Museum of Mihi. This is a cross curricular (Social Studies, Health and Arts: Drama) module which I co-teach with Megan Peterson and Sally Hart. We have 3 x 90 minute blocks during the day with the same 37 students. The module has been based on exploring students’ personal identity through the artefacts and interests that represent them. Students are then generating their own museum exhibitions to share their identity with peers, parents, staff and invited guests.

Today we started with a reflection exercise on defining personal identity and shared identity; describing their personal identity and then explaining which aspects of their identity they would focus on for their exhibition. Then we were off to our Maker Space to generate their exhibition artefacts.

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Continue reading

A Culture of Prototyping

I have been thinking a lot lately about the diagram below which covers the elements of a Design Thinking Mindset. This is the first post in a series I hope to publish over the next fortnight covering how I see these developing at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

A Culture of Prototyping can be quite scary for teachers (and particularly school leaders) to start developing. This is because it requires all members of the staff to have no fear of failure. Continue reading

Enabling Constraints

Snip20131031_3Seeing your Principal send a tweet like this is so incredibly affirming and validating of the work you have been undertaking. Especially when it comes on a day where your team is sharing the outcome of weeks of work putting together the structures for learning to take place in your school.

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The time spent on the vision, values etc. last term was the foundation for the structures coming into place over the past 2 weeks. All our decisions in putting these in place are well grounded in the school vision and values. Then in one day this week we introduced the staff to all the structures supporting the delivery of our curriculum: Continue reading